An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Strong

An American Girl:
Chrissa Stands Strong
Directed by Martha Coolidge[1]
Screenplay by Christine Coyle Johnson
Julie Prendiville Roux
Based on Chrissa
by Mary Casanova
Starring Sammi Hanratty
Austin Thomas
Kaitlyn Dever
Adair Tishler
Ariela Barer
Shelby Harmon
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • January 5, 2009 (2009-01-05)


Running time
91 minutes
Country United States
Language English

An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Strong (2009) is the 5th film in the American Girl series, starring Sammi Hanratty in the title role.[3] It is based on the Chrissa books in the American Girl series written by Mary Casanova.[4][5]

The screenplay was written by Christine Coyle Johnson and Julie Prendiville Roux. The movie was directed by Martha Coolidge. It won a 2009 Gold Award from National Parenting Publications (NAPPA).[6]


Chrissa Maxwell and her family move from Iowa to Minnesota in order to be closer to Chrissa's grandmother, Louise "Nana" Hanlon, after their grandfather died. At her new school, Chrissa has a hard time making friends and soon finds herself bullied by Tara James, Sonali Matthews and Jayden Johnson, a trio of girls called the Mean Bees.

Chrissa tries to befriend another girl, Gwen Thompson, who is also being bullied by Tara, Sonali and Jayden. Gwen avoids Chrissa at first, but Chrissa later finds out that Gwen avoided her because she was homeless and ashamed of it; Chrissa and Gwen then become best friends. Later, Gwen told Chrissa in the music room that her mom got a job and they're moving into an apartment. Tara, Jayden, and Sonali overheard the conversation between them. Gwen asked Chrissa to cut her bangs for her in the bathroom. Tara, Jayden, and Sonali came in and Tara offered Gwen to cut it for her. She purposely did a terrible job, telling Gwen she really looks like a homeless person. Gwen got mad at Chrissa because she thinks that Chrissa told Tara that Gwen is homeless. The other girls are sent to the principal's office by Mrs. Ziminsky, who demands the truth. Tara lies and says that Chrissa told her about Gwen being homeless; Jayden also lies and says that she didn't see anything. However, Sonali tells Mrs. Zimisky the truth about what happened. The principal suspends Tara, Sonali and Jayden - Tara for 3 days, and Sonali and Jayden for only a day. After her suspension, Sonali apologizes to Gwen about all the mean things she has done to her, and leaves Tara and Jayden, therefore befriending Chrissa and Gwen.

After the incident, the bullying gets more intense. Posters and rumors about Chrissa on the Internet are passed around by Tara and Jayden. Chrissa quits her school swim team as a result of being picked on, as well as an incident that involved her older brother, Tyler. Chrissa gets advice from Mrs. Rundell, her art teacher, to tell her parents about the bullying. After she tells her parents, they reply that sometimes, bullies are mean, because they want to feel better about themselves, and try to do so by insulting others and putting them down.

With her newfound confidence, Chrissa and her friends show everyone that they are happy with who they are by doing fun things such as wearing homemade painted headbands. Their happiness and confidence annoys Tara and Jayden, but the girls did not care. Chrissa decides to do a project to make people aware that many kids are bullied, which Tara begrudgingly knows to have something to do with her, and rejoins the swim team. The big swim competition approaches, and she realizes that she and Tara have to work together if they want to win the relay. Although Tara is reluctant, Chrissa assures her that though they may not be best friends, they can still work together to win. Their teamwork earns them their victory, and they reconcile and hug.

The 4th grade class present their project about how bullying affects everyone and friendship can overcome bullying. One of Chrissa's best friends, Amanda, visits her for the summer; Amanda befriends Sonali and Gwen, and the four become best friends.

Main characters

Minor characters


  1. "An American Girl - Chrissa Stands Strong". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
  2. "An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Strong (2009)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  3. "Sammi Hanratty Talks 'Chrissa Stands Strong'". Crushable. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
  4. "Chrissa Stands Strong by Mary Casanova". FictionDB. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
  5. "Chrissa Stands Strong by Mary Casanova". iTunes. Apple, Inc. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
  6. "Holiday Shopping: 87 Award-Winners That Your Kids Will Love". Fredericksburg Parent and Family. Retrieved 31 August 2013.

External links

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